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Tilapia Fish Collagen Used in Wound Dressings Causes Faster Healing

Using Tilapia fish collagen in wound dressings might be more beneficial than using collagen derived from cows or pigs that carry the risk of infections, according to a new study. Furthermore, the findings suggest that the wound dressings made from Tilapia collagen allow for faster healing.


A species of the Tilapia fish. Photo credits: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen; via Wikimedia Commons 


Tilapia fish collagen vs cow-derived collagen

A new study led by Tian Zhou of the Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine in China indicates that Tilapia fish is a good source of collagen to be used to help the healing of wounds.

Collagen was suggested to be beneficial to cure injuries, but the use of animal-derived collagen carries a small risk of perpetrating diseases. Previously, collagen was obtained from cows and pigs. The new research puts forward that collagen from Tilapia fish is a safer alternative.

The findings have been published in the journals ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.

What is collagen?

Collagen is a structural protein that makes up connective tissues of various kinds in animals.

It accounts for 25 to 35 % of the total protein content of the body.

It holds the skin together and is found in bones, muscles, skin, cartilage, blood vessels and tendons.

Using collagen to heal wounds

It has a wide range of applications, including the manufacture of wound dressings. Since it is already a main component of the skin, it is highly beneficial to be used to heal wounds naturally.

Furthermore, it is said to be resistant against bacteria. Wounds might make a person vulnerable to infections, but the collagen dressings provide a sterile environment around the wounds.

Dangers of cow- and pork-derived collagen

Collagen obtained from cows and pigs, known as bovine and porcine collagen respectively, entails a small risk of transferring pathogens related to foot and mouth disease to humans.

Tilapia fish collagen: no risk of disease & faster healing

Tilapia is a freshwater fish found in Africa and the Middle East. Tilapia farming has become quite common nowadays as it has grown to become a popular seafood.

As an alternative to collagen obtained from cattle, the fish collagen does not come with the risk of transmitting diseases to patients. Furthermore, the new study showed that rats with fish collagen embedded in wound dressings experienced faster healing.

The researchers made nanofibers using tilapia fish collagen as raw material. This was then used to cover the skin of a group of wounded rats, while another group consisted of rats which were not given the fish collagen dressings.

Tests were carried out to determine whether the fish collagen caused an immune reaction. It was then found that such is unlikely to happen.

It was also discovered that the rats with the fish collagen dressings healed faster. The researchers explained this result by affirming that the fish collagen nanofibers could stimulate genes coding for binding proteins and growth factors.


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